THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO THE 2020 NFL SEASON: DIVISION PREDICTIONS, PLAYOFF PREDICTIONS AND MORE!
In my opinion, this is the best division in football, the past two NFC winners have come from this division, the Seahawks have been contenders ever since their 2014 Super Bowl campaign and the Cardinals made a big splash in free agency by signing stud wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins. I expect the Forty-Niners to win this division once again, with their stellar defense and strong run game, but it won’t be easy fending off Russel Wilson and the Seahawks. If Pete Carroll will finally let Russ loose, I can see them winning the division, but he simply won’t. Chris Carson will have another solid season, but look for DK Metcalf to become an even larger part of the offense after a great rookie campaign. Everyone seemed to forget about the Rams as they did not live up to their expectations after their 2019 Super Bowl appearance, but as long as Sean Mcvay is coaching, they can beat anyone. The loss of Todd Gurley may hurt at the start of the season, but second round draft pick Cam Akers has some serious big play ability and can make some noise in his rookie year. The Cardinals will make a big improvement in Kyler and Kliff’s second year, benefiting from an easy schedule, but a weak offensive line will hold them back. Their defense is far from perfect as well, but will improve because of first round draft pick, Isaiah Simmons.
One of the weaker divisions in the league, but has a lot of potential if the Cowboys can finally utilize their talent and if the Eagles can actually stay healthy. I’m not a huge fan of the Mike Mccarthy hire, but it is still an upgrade from Jason Garrett, who was really Jerry Jones’ puppet. Dak slander is at an all time high, but he is still amongst the league’s elite, and the addition of Ceedee Lamb will only make life easier for him, their schedule is incredibly easy, and their defense is very talented, led by linebackers Leighton Vander-Esch and Jaylon Smith. The Eagles picked Jalen Reagor with their first round pick and acquired deep threat Marquise Goodwin to add some much needed depth to their receiving core. Miles Sanders is set for a breakout year after the departure of Jordan Howard and running behind one of the best offensive lines in football. The talent is there, they just need to stay healthy. Their schedule is not very favorable, but I would not be surprised to see them in the playoffs. The Giants could make some noise this year. Daniel Jones is looking to build off a very solid rookie season and Saquon Barkley looks to bounce back after an injury riddled 2019 season. Their receiving core is more than solid, led by tight end Evan Engram and Golden Tate, but look for Darius Slayton to have a breakout year and Sterling Shepard to be consistent as always. I’m not a huge fan of the Joe Judge hire, but I can still see this team winning some games. As for the Washington Football team, there isn’t much to say. Alex Smith cracking the roster after almost losing his leg is pretty awesome, but this team is bad.
Football Team 2-14
I am absolutely THRILLED to see how this division plays out. The Bucs finally got rid of Jameis and replaced him with the GOAT, who somehow convinced Gronk to come out of retirement. To all the people saying TB12 is too old or washed up, everyone said the same thing about Carson Palmer on the Cardinals, but Bruce Arians made him look like an MVP candidate, and Tom Brady is 100x better than Carson Palmer. The sky's the limit for this offense, Brady has never had this many weapons in his career. Two top ten wideouts in Mike Evans and Chris Godwin, arguably the greatest tight end ever in Gronk, newly acquired Leonard Fournette and an offensive line that will improve with the addition of Tristan Wirfs. The defense is nowhere near the caliber of their offense, but they have some ballers in their front seven, led by LaVonte David, Shaquill Barrett and Ndamukong Suh, however the secondary could use some work, but drafting Antoine Winfield Jr will look to solve that problem as he is a play making machine. The Saints are contenders once again this year. An already solid wide receiver core looks like it will be even better with the addition of Emmanuel Sanders. Drew Brees looks to bounce back after an inconsistent 2019 and Alvin Kamara appears to be fully healthy. Their defense was also very lackluster in 2019, but they have the pieces to be one of the league's best. Look for the Saints to make the playoffs again. The Falcons are once again, a very hard team to evaluate. Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley highlight one of the league’s best receiving corps. Matt Ryan looks just as good as ever, and offseason moves such as adding Todd Gurley and Hayden Hurst, make this offense scary for opposing defenses. However, their defense is one of the worst out there. Last season opponents scored on 42.8% of their drives versus the Falcons, that ranked 31st in the league. They replaced Vic Beasley with Dante Fowler, which will help, but not much. A very hard schedule does not help them, but this team is better than their record. The Panthers will improve this season on the field but not in the win column. I love the Teddy Bridgewater signing and the Matt Rhule/ Joe Brady hires. DJ Moore emerged as a quality WR1 and CMC is still the most valuable running back in football. The defense is a serious problem. Letting James Bradberry and Gerald Mccoy go, may have made financial sense, but it won’t make their record any better. Derrick Brown is a great player, but I personally would have gone with Isiah Simmons with that seventh overall pick. A very hard schedule and a weak defense with almost no depth will contribute to another long season for panther fans.
This division will be very entertaining. I can see the Bears, Packers or Vikings winning this, maybe even the Lions but their defense is just so bad and Matt Patricia has to go. Matt Stafford is one of my favorite players in fantasy football this season and I can see him leading the league in pass yards. The Lions receiving core is very good, led by Kenny Golloday and Marvin Jones. Look for second year tight end TJ Hockenson to make a big jump in production. I’m not a huge fan of D'andre Swift but he is a clear upgrade over Kerryon Johnson. The defense is still horrible and will be the cause of them losing games along with Matt Patricia’s coaching. At this point, we all know what we are going to get with the Packers, mediocre coaching, great QB play and an above average defense. Davante Adams target share will increase even more given the departure of Geronimo Allison. Reports from camp are that MVS has improved a lot so look for him to have a strong season. Drafting AJ Dillon did not make much sense especially after the year Aaron Jones had, but I guess he provides a nice goal line threat. People are seriously sleeping on the Bears this season. I guess they have a good reason for that, Mitch Trubisky. But this defense is no joke and Mitch led them to a division title two years ago. Allen Robinson leads a weak receiving core and David Montgomery looks to bounce back after a disappointing rookie season. The defense will carry them to some wins, but I can see this team improving if they can control the clock and improve in the run game. The Vikings are the division favorite and rightfully so. This team is extremely well rounded, I'm not the biggest fan of Kirk Cousins, but a strong offensive line, Dalvin Cook, Adam Thielen and Justin Jefferson in the slot will make this offense strong. Their defensive line, led by Danielle Hunter ranks among the league's best and getting rid of Xavier Rhodes will help this team greatly.
Buccaneers over Seahawks
Saints over Vikings
Buccaneers over 49ers
Saints over Cowboys
Buccaneers over Saints
Headlined by the reigning super bowl champs, Kansas City Chiefs, the AFC West is a very strong division as the Chargers and Broncos look to compete for wild card spots. The Chiefs went out and drafted Clyde Edwards- Helaire in the first round, that was their only big offseason move, as they are already stacked. Edwards- Helaire showed great talent catching out of the backfield at LSU and with “Playoff Damien” opting out of the season, it looks like Edwards- Helaire will be the day one starter. On defense, the Chiefs saw major improvement, as they went from one of the worst defenses in 2018 to being ranked seventh in total defense last year. Once again, the Chiefs will take the AFC West. The Broncos made some big moves in reinforcing their offense. Drew Lock showed lots of promise last year after going 4-1 as a starter and adding the best wide receiver in the draft, Jerry Jeudy will only make life easier. They also signed Melvin Gordon as he looks to lead a two-headed running attack with Phillip Lindsay. Look for this whole offense to break out. Noah Fant is prone to have a big year, Gordon will bounce back, Cortland Sutton will prove he is a quality WR1 and Jeudy will be a quality WR2. The offensive line is a little shaky, but there are too many weapons to ignore this offense. The defense loses Chris Harris Jr and Von Miller to injury will hurt, but they are still legit. Look for Jurrell Casey, AJ Bouye and Bradley Chubb to lead the Broncos defense to a very successful season. The Chargers lose franchise QB Phillip Rivers and replace him with Tyrod Taylor, until they hand the job over to first round pick Justin Herbert sometime this season. Taylor is a game manager at best, maybe there will be less turnovers, but in terms of total offense, the chargers are sure to regress. Austin Ekeler looks to lead their rushing attack and be used in the passing game as always. If Hunter Henry can stay healthy, he can be one of the NFL’s top tight ends, and Keenan Allen looks to add another consistent year to his career. As for the defense, this team is more than set. The loss of Derwin James is huge, but adding Chris Harris Jr, will help revamp the secondary. Their front seven is great, headlined by Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram. Their record will improve, thanks to an easy schedule but Taylor’s QB play will hold them back from a playoff spot. Finally, we arrive at the Raiders. This team is atrocious. Josh Jacobs is a walking ankle sprain, Derek Carr is still insanely overrated, Mariota just got placed on the IR, and their defense is still terrible. There isn’t much to say other than this is going to be a very long year for them. Waller is a very good tight end and Ruggs is basically Hey-Bey 2.0.
For the first time in what seems like forever, this division is wide open now that Tom Brady has taken his talents elsewhere. To replace him, the Patriots signed Cam Newton, who was let go by the Panthers after an injury riddled 2019 season. The wide receiver core is below average and with an inaccurate passer like Newton behind center, it will be hard for them to put up points. On defense, Patrick Chung and Dont’a Hightower both opted out. Duron Harmon and Kyle Van Noy both went to different teams. They drafted very poorly, drafting two tight ends and a D2 safety is not going to produce wins straight away. They will win some games, but for the first time since I’ve started watching the NFL, the Patriots will not be in the playoffs. The Bills offseason hype has been blown so far out of proportion. Will they win the division? Yes, but that says more about their competition than themselves. Steffon Diggs is a great talent, but what's the use of him if Josh Allen is just going to overthrow him every play? They have a great backfield though, Zack Moss is one of my favorite rookies and will compliment the speedy Devin Singletary greatly, this is a solid team but they are far from contenders. Their defense is one of the league's best, as they look to build off a 2019 season where they ranked second in total defense. Tre’davious White headlines one of the best secondaries in the league. The front seven was great in 2019 and will be even better after the Bills drafted Houston’s Ed Oliver, look for the Bills to be in a lot of low scoring, close contests. The Dolphins are one of my favorite teams this year, they closed out last year looking like a capable team, and made all the necessary moves in the offseason to win games. Kyle Van Noy reunites with his former Patriots linebacker coach. Byron Jones got signed to a huge contract and will play alongside the promising Xavien Howard. They drafted Christian Wilkins and signed Elandon Roberts. This defense has the talent to be among the league’s best. As for the offense, the offensive line is still shaky, but drafting Austin Jackson and signing Ted Karras will improve the unit as a whole instantly. The wide receiver core has very little depth, but as long as Davante Parker and Preston Williams can stay healthy, they will be more than fine. The run game will be led by Jordan Howard and Matt Breida, two backs who play very differently and will keep defenses on their heels. Fitzpatrick has proved to be a capable player, but hopefully we will see some Tua action. This is a very exciting team, I don’t think they are playoff quality yet, but they will be very fun to watch. Now we reach the Jets. Adam Gase is one of the worst coaches in the league, Sam Darnold is still seeing ghosts and Le'veon Bell has obviously regressed and the Jets O line won’t be doing him any favors. Another rough season for the Jets is upon us.
Another tough division to evaluate, I can see three teams winning this one, the Colts, Titans and Texans. The Jaguars lose Leonard Fournette and Yannick Ngakoue, two of their best players, so it looks like it will be another year of rebuilding in Jacksonville. The Colts signed Phillip Rivers and drafted one of my favorite rookies, Jonathan Taylor out of Wisconsin. Expect Taylor to have a big year especially since Rivers loves to dump the ball off to running backs and the Colts have one of the best offensive lines in the league. As for the rest of the offense, TY Hilton, when healthy, is a solid WR1 and Michael Pittman will be a capable WR2. Jack Doyle is one of the more underrated tight ends in the league. Rivers has plenty of weapons on offense so expect the Colts offense to take a big step in the right direction this season. Their defense is solid, they ranked 18th in total defense last year, but the acquisition of Deforest Buckner will help a lot and if Xavier Rhodes can play to his potential, this defense can be scary. The Titans are fresh off an appearance in the AFC Championship where they lost to the eventual Super Bowl Champions, Kansas City Chiefs. They signed Ryan Tannehill to a huge contract which didn’t really make sense to me, as he’s really just there to hand it off to Henry and throw the occasional play action pass. As long as they stick to what they did in the playoffs, this offense should be great, as they have an amazing offensive line and a capable receiving core led by AJ Brown. Their run first approach should help them control the clock and keep their defense off the field for most of the game. Their defense is very solid, as they ranked 12th in total defense last season. The front seven added Jadeveon Clowney and Vic Beasley which will offer a lot of help when it comes to sacking the quarterback and their secondary is very underrated, led by safeties Kevin Byard and Kenny Vaccaro. This team is very well rounded and seeing them in the playoffs should surprise no one. The Texans lose their best player in Deandre Hopkins and decide to replace him with the injury prone David Johnson, who will be running behind one of the worst offensive lines in the league. Bill O'brien's horrid play calling ability will be the death of this team once again and Deshaun Watson’s playmaking ability will have to carry them. Their receivers are solid, before last season, Brandin Cooks was a consistent 1,000 yard receiver so adding him sorta fills the hole of Deandre Hopkins. If Will Fuller can stay healthy, he will compliment Cooks greatly. Their defense is pretty average as they ranked 19th in total defense last year. Obviously JJ Watt is the name to know as he looks to bounce back after an injury riddled 2019, but they retooled their secondary by signing Bradley Roby and Vernon Hargreaves. They will win some games because of Deshaun Watson but there is no doubt that this team will regress.
Headlined by Lamar Jackson and the Ravens, this division is one of the best out there. The Ravens look to repeat as division champs and I think they will. Lamar Jackson silenced the haters and won MVP last year as I do believe he will regress slightly, he is still a top 3 QB and will run his way back into the playoffs. They added JK Dobbins via the draft and he will look to add another set of legs to an already stacked rushing attack led by Mark Ingram. Their receiving is above average. Hollywood Brown and Mark Andrews will be Lamar’s top 2 targets, but look for Myles Boykin to emerge and snag a few TDs. Their defense is one of the league's elite. Losing Earl Thomas will hurt a bit but Marcus Peters and Marlon Humphrey are arguably the best cornerback duo in the league. Drafting Patrick Queen was a great move, expect him to play right away and add a great all around presence to their defense. The Ravens should win this division pretty easily. Big Ben returns for the Steelers and looks to help out their defense which was basically unbreakable last year. James Conner will lead a very poor rushing attack. After his huge 2018 season, he just hasn’t looked the same and I’m not really sure why they haven’t tried to draft a high caliber back as they desperately need one. Their receiving core is pretty average as well. Juju Smith-Schuster is great out of the slot but other than him, James Washington and Diontae Johnson don’t bring much to the table. Their defense though, is truly incredible. After the acquisition of Minkah Fitzpatrick, the Steelers defense turned into a turnover forcing machine and I expect nothing less than the same this season. Their front seven is absolutely loaded, with TJ Watt, Stephon Tuitt, Cameron Hayward and Devin Bush leading the way. The secondary includes Joe Haden and Minkah Fitzpatrick. From top to bottom, this defense is elite and in my opinion is the best in football. I expect the Steelers to win games, but a playoff run is not in their sights due to a poor offense. Up next, it's the Browns. This team is full of locker room cancers, with OBJ and Baker leading the way. The Stefanski hire makes no sense to me whatsoever, but this team is simply loaded with talent, it is hard to see them not winning 8 games. Kareem Hunt was very solid in his 8 games last year and obviously Nick Chubb is expected to have another huge year. They made some strong offseason moves to upgrade their offensive line such as adding Jack Conklin from the Titans. On defense they have some ballers. Myles Garrett looks to add another solid season to his young career, Sheldon Richardson had a good first year with the Browns and I think he will improve off of that. Denzel Ward and Karl Joseph headline their secondary, but look for rookie Greedy Williams to play a lot and make a big impact right away. This team definitely has the talent to make a playoff run, but I think they need a year or 2 more to get there. Now we reach the Bengals. I absolutely hate this team this year. Joe Burrow is a great talent, but having the Bengals offensive line is going to make him look like an instant bust. At LSU, he had all day to throw, in Cincinnati, he will be lucky to have 3-4 seconds and going up against a nasty front seven in week one, will not be pretty. They have solid receivers, AJ Green is past his prime but he is still relevant as long as he stays healthy. Tyler Boyd is one of the most underrated slot receivers in the league and rookie Tee Higgins will pose a threat as well. Their defense is nothing special. The front seven is good, led by Geno Atkins and Carlos Dunlap and Vonn Bell looks to add some talent to a depleted secondary. This will be another long year for Bengal fans.
Titans over Steelers
Broncos over Bills
Ravens over Titans
Chiefs over Broncos
Chiefs over Ravens
In the Super Bowl I have the Buccaneers meeting the Chiefs.
Prediction: Chiefs 31 - Buccaneers 27
My prediction plus a sleeper or two
MVP: Patrick Mahomes +350, Derrick Henry +4000
DROY: Isaiah Simmons +450, Antione Winfield Jr +2000
OROY: Clyde Edwards- Helaire +210, Zack Moss +3000, Jonathan Taylor +900